Vodacom Bulls Need A Good Start In 2023 Currie Cup Against Airlink Pumas


The weekend action is rounded off by a 13:00 (SA Time) clash at Loftus Versfeld between the Vodacom Bulls, Currie Cup winners in 2020 and 2021, and the defending champions from Mpumalanga, the Airlink Pumas.

The Vodacom Bulls have also announced a strong coaching team for their Currie Cup campaign, which has seen former Cell C Sharks mentor Sean Everitt joining the Pretoria-based coaching staff spearheaded by Edgar Marutlulle and assisted by Gert Smal and Hugo van As.

They will be up against the Airlink Pumas and Jimmy Stonehouse, an astute coach and experienced mentor, who will no doubt have a plan up his sleeve to combat the Vodacom Bulls’ traditional forward strength.

Newly appointed Currie Cup coach, Edgar Marutlulle has picked a strong side that will face the defending champions of the Currie Cup, the Airlink Pumas.

The Vodacom Bulls will have Gerhard Steenekamp, Jan Hendrik Wessels and Francois Kloppers lining up as the front-row combination, supported by Jacques Du Plessis and Ruan Vermaak in the second row. Phumzile Magondwana (blindside flank), Reinhardt Ludwig (eightman) and Mihlali Mosi (openside flank) will lace up their boots to line up in the back row.

Scrum-half, Bernard van der Linde will pair with the captain of the side for the match, Morne Steyn (fly-half) as the half-back combination. David Kriel (inside) and Lionel Mapoe (outside) will lineup as the centre pairing with Sbu Nkosi on the left wing and Sibongile Novuka on right-wing whilst Wandisile Simelane anchors the side at full-back.

Speaking about his squad selection and the opponents that await, Marutlulle remarked: “There are a number of things we need to keep cognisance of whenever we are selecting a team. Making sure that we stay aligned to the objectives of the franchise, our Vodacom URC plans and Heineken Champions Cup plans as well as what we want to achieve out of this Currie Cup campaign,”

“There is an English expression that says when two bulls meet, only the grass suffers and so we are really looking forward to a tough challenge against the current Currie Cup champions. We are seething at the mouth to have a good opportunity and a good outing against a strong Pumas side come Sunday,”

“Jimmy’s teams are always well-conditioned and ready for battle. They play an abrasive style of rugby and they are well coached, so it matters not whom they have lined up for them but rather that they are always ready for a good outing and that sets us up for a great match on Sunday,”

“We know it will be a tough battle and you see that in our squad selection, an indication that we are not taking this lightly and we are not underestimating them in any way. We look forward to taking it to them.”


Vodacom Bulls: 15. Wandisile Simelane, 14. Sibongile Novuka, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. David Kriel, 11. Sibusiso Nkosi, 10. Morné Steyn (c), 9. Bernard van der Linde, 8. Mihlali Mosi, 7. Reinhardt Ludwig, 6. Phumzile Maqondwana, 5. Ruan Vermaak, 4. Jacques Du Plessis, 3. Francois Klopper, 2. Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 1. Gerhard Steenekamp. Replacements: 16. Joe van Zyl, 17. Lizo Gqoboka, 18. Mornay Smith, 19. Janko Swanepoel, 20. Cameron Hanekom, 21. Keagan Johannes, 22. Chris Smith, 23. Cornal Hendricks.

Airlink Pumas: 15. Devon Williams, 14. Sebastian de Klerk, 13. Diego Appollis, 12. Ali Mgijima, 11. Jade Stighling, 10. Tinus de Beer, 9. Giovan Snyman, 8. Kwanda Dimaza, 7. Francois Kleinhans, 6. Andre Fouché, 5. Shane Kirkwood (c), 4. Deon Slabbert, 3. Njabulo Gumede, 2. Eduan Swart, 1. Corne Fourie. Replacements: 16. Llewellyn Classen, 17. Etienne Janeke, 18. Simon Raw, 19. Malembe Mpofu, 20. Ruwald van der Merwe, 21. Chriswill September, 22. Brandon Thomson, 23. Lundi Msenge, 24. Ignatius Prinsloo, 25. Jacques Momberg, 26. Jaco Labuschagne, 27. Gene Willemse.